Jessica Cuello
from the letters of Mary Shelley

from the letters of Mary Shelley, Vol 1, ed. Bennett

Dear Mother,

I had a dream
that my little baby came to life again.

What is it to make a life
that dies—like god
it cannot stand
to stay.

Cabbage leaves are soft
like cloth and smell of tea.
I wore them on my breasts
like medicine.The earthy
taste of tea made me hate
my flesh—I didn’t know
if I was made of
anything else.
Her thirteen days
were the only time
and they had no measure.
Clouds swirled like bands
of twisted cloth.
I’m sorry to burden you.

As a child, I was spooked
by the empty hall
when fa